Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said after the win over the Cardinals on Sunday:
On what the locker room was like after snapping a five-game losing streak: “It was a fun locker room to go into after that game. I thought we played well in all three phases. The defense played outstanding, creating turnovers and you know, I'm not sure how many sacks we had, but we had a bunch of sacks, as well. It was fun. Obviously, we work hard and put in all this work to win games, and it feels good when you accomplish that.
On seeing the rushing attack break loose today: “That was impressive, the way we ran the football today. I think when you go against an aggressive defense like Arizona's, if you can hold up in the front seven and put your backs in space on their secondary, you have some opportunities for explosive run plays and our backs and offensive line and wide receivers did a great job of creating those lanes against some tough looks, but when you get those looks, you get big, big chunks, and we were able to do that today.”
On the big plays in the pocket: “That's part of it. We talk about, you know, sometimes coverage takes away what you want to do initially if you can create a second type of play, extend plays and get outside the pocket and make some things happen, those are huge. We were able to do that. I thought we did a nice job right before the half of creating a couple plays outside the pocket that were, you know, critical for us to move the ball right down the field.”
On winning the game but being eliminated from playoff contention: “I mean, you know, you make your bed throughout the year, and today was a good day for us as a team, but obviously not playing in the postseason is disappointing, but we'll enjoy the win today and try and win these next two.”
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On the first time his kids have come to a game: “That was the first time they have come to a game, yeah, for sure. It was very cool to see them beforehand. Just a fun experience for myself and my family prior to the game.”
On whether the quarterback sneaks are becoming a bigger part of the offensive attack: “Yeah, we've done a nice job with that at different points throughout the year of using some tempo, getting those first downs when it's a really short-yardage situation, or inside the one, down on the goal line. I think Steve Sarkisian has utilized that part of our offense really well.
On what he saw of the touchdown at the end of the second quarter: “That was really good timing of the call from Sark to stay aggressive. Knew we were going to have a one-on-one opportunity on Julio on the sideline. He ran a great route, stayed patient, and I tried to lead the ball into the end zone to allow him to create some separation, and he made a great catch.”
On whether the team got energy from Deion Jones’ pick-six: “Absolutely. That was the momentum kick starter for us as a team to get the tip and then Deion intercepts it and return it for a touchdown. Those are awesome. That was awesome to get us going. I felt like the energy that really got everybody into it and from that point forward, we played really well.”
On seeing Tevin Coleman have an explosive game: “It was awesome. Tevin played extremely well, you know, and our offensive line and wide receivers did such a good job of allowing him to get to the third level of the defense, the secondary, and he made them pay. When he gets in space, he's got exceptional speed, and showcased that today.”
On Bruce Irvin contributing to the defensive effort: “Absolutely. He's a guy that has played at a high level for a long time, and you know, we were fortunate to be able to pick him up and he's provided a lot, other than just the pass rush, but you know, those guys work so hard and so for them to get home and to be able to do it, it's always fun to see.”
On Bruce Irvin’s energy and spirit: “He’s a high-energy guy, and you can feel his effort and attitude. He's just got an aura about him. He doesn't say a whole lot, but you just feel from the way that he works, the way that he carries himself. He's a real professional and a guy that understands what it takes to individually play at a high level, but also to be part of a defense that plays at a really high level.”